Library Catalogs

There are several ways to search for information about the Society's collections.

ABIGAIL

ABIGAIL, the Society's library online catalog, is the place to start your search for information about MHS holdings.  Updated frequently, ABIGAIL provides access to catalog records for manuscripts, books, pamphlets, broadsides, photographs, art, artifacts, and other formats of material. 

Collection Guides

Many of the Society's manuscript and photograph collections are described in more detail in searchable online collection guides. Collection guides not yet online are available in the Society's reading room.

Online Adams Catalog

The Online Adams Catalog (OAC) contains more than 110,000 records representing every known document related to the Adams family dating from 1630 to 1889.

Other catalogs

Approximately 350,000 individual manuscripts are described in an item catalog available on microfiche at the MHS.  Although many of the descriptions have been revised or superceded, and more have been added, The Catalog of Manuscripts of the Massachusetts Historical Society (published by G. K. Hall, 1969; 1980 supplement) is available in more than 150 U.S. libraries and remains a useful resource for descriptions of individual manuscript items.

For Further Information

Researchers with questions about research strategies or the Society's library holdings should contact the Reader Services staff.

Upcoming Events

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

POSTPONED: The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific Ocean: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and ...

31Mar 5:15PM 2020

The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture and environment. But as this talk argues, late-nineteenth-century Americans ...

postponed Author Talk

The Hunt for History: On the Trail of the World’s Lost Treasures—from the Letters of Lincoln, ...

1Apr 6:00PM 2020
There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

Nathan Raab, America’s preeminent rare documents dealer, describes his years as the Sherlock Holmes of historical artifacts and he shows us what the past can tell ...

The Revolutionary Era in Boston with Prof. Robert Allison

3Apr 2:00PM 2020
This is an online program.

Join us for a live virtual Q and A with Professor Robert Allison who will address your questions on the Revolutionary War in Boston and beyond. Subscribers will get ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

Read more from our blog

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